An American Abroad

Tunsian Blue

One of the first things I noticed about Sousse was the quality of the light here. The sun reflects off the waters of the Mediterranean and illuminates the sky. The ambient light is brilliant but not harsh. It’s the kind of light that could compel a painter to set up a studio, the kind of light that poets could write about, the kind of light that could drive a man mad. For the first time I understood the irony and the majesty of the title of The Sheltering Sky.

The sky seems unnaturally blue, as if wavelengths here are just a mite shorter. It’s not quite real, like a movie shot on film stock that’s not quite right.

And these shades of blue are recapitulated in the paint used on the doors and windows of Sousse, especially in and around the medina. Call it Tunisian blue.

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Comments

  1. I followed your blog while you were in China. Very interesting. I have family in Toledo, which made you a kindred spirit!
    I must ask…why Tunisia? What is your job? Teaching? Best of luck.

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